Written by SMH Rehabilitation Services Laura Magnusson
Your doctor finally spoke the words you’d been waiting so long to hear: “You’re cancer free.”
Your journey to this point has no doubt included endless doctor appointments, lifestyle changes and financial challenges. Your role within your family, social circles and workplace have been impacted. The same treatments that helped save your life may have changed your life, leaving lingering effects on your body and your sense of self. You may fatigue easily or have pain, weakness, a decreased appetite or other problems that limit your ability to work, play or care for yourself.
So how do you rebuild your life and your quality of life?
A great place to start is by connecting with cancer-survivorship resources in your area, including cancer rehabilitation programs.
Cancer rehabilitation is designed to improve cancer survivors’ quality of life through specialized services, including counseling; physical and occupational therapy; massage therapy; nutritional counseling; and exercise and wellness classes led by professionals with advanced training in cancer treatments and their side effects.
Choosing a cancer rehab center that fits your needs and goals can help ensure success. Here are some things to keep in mind when weighing your options for cancer rehabilitation facilities and services.
- You need to have confidence in your rehab team. They must be knowledgeable, not just about cancer, but about your cancer. They should have advanced training and knowledge of the specific medical, surgical and pharmaceutical treatments you’ve endured and how those treatments have impacted your function and well-being.
- They should employ “active listening.” Does the therapist take time to listen to you, working collaboratively to develop your personal, goal-oriented care plan?
- Ask about their training and continuing education efforts. Therapists develop advanced competencies through experience, mentoring, attending formal continuing-education training, and frequent review of new research findings.
- Ask about their specialized certifications. With multiple certifications available for therapy professionals, effective oncology-rehab therapists continually educate themselves on current best practices and the latest therapy tools and techniques.
For more information on cancer rehabilitation and other survivor resources, call 941-917-7827.